Fourth-Ranked Men's Swimming Host No. 6 USC

Jan. 23, 2007

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The No. 4 California Golden Bears will host the No. 6 USC Trojans on Jan. 26, at 1 p.m. (PT). The meet will be held at Spieker Aquatics Complex. Cal finished second at the Dallas Morning News Invitational, on Jan. 12-13, in Dallas, Texas.

The fourth-ranked Cal men's swimming and diving squad finished second behind No. 8 Northwestern at the Dallas Morning News Swimming and Diving Classic, in Dallas, Texas. The Golden Bears finished the meet with 334 points. Northwestern won the classic with its point total of 359. SMU (305) and No. 10 Florida State (131) finished third and fourth respectively. Cal's team of David Russell, Richard Hunter, Jernej Godec and Nathan Adrian finished three seconds behind Northwestern in the 400-medley relay. Northwestern won the event with its time of 3:10.87, as Cal finished 3:13.86. After winning the 200 freestyle at the last few meets, Dominik Meichtry (1:34.95) finished second behind Northwestern's Matt Grevers (1:34.21) in this weekend's 200 free. Jernej Godec continued his impressive streak in the 50 free, winning the event with his final time of 19.95. Godec finished second in the 100 butterfly after being clocked at 47.63. In the 200 fly, Patrick O'Neil won the event with his time of 1:46.75. O'Neil also won the 100 fly consolation final with his time of 48.39. Louis Vayo, in the 400 individual medley, was clocked at 3:53.59 to finish third. In the 100 backstroke, Richard Hunter placed third (56.33) and Mark Eckert was second (57.2) in the 100 back consolation final. The Bears squad of Adrian, Vayo, O'Neil and Meichtry won the 800- free relay with its time of 6:31.37. The time was a new meet and pool record. However, Cal could not win the 200-medley relay, with the team of Russell, Hunter, Godec and Adrian. The Bears finished second with their time of 1:28.99. In the 200-free relay, the team of Adrian, Godec, Meichtry and O'Neil also finished second after being clocked at 1:20.70. In the 500 free, Meichtry won the event with his time of 4:19.26. In the consolation final of this race, Vayo won with his time of 4:30.22. In the 100 back, David Russell finished second with his time of 47.30. Russell also finished second in the 200 back after being clocked at 1:44.49. Nathan Adrian finished third in the 100 free with his time of 44.86. Mark Eckert finished third (1:49.76) in the 200 IM. In diving, Sam Helvie continued to rack up wins, winning both the one-meter and three-meter springboards. In the one-meter, he won the event with his final mark of 358.25. He turned around and also won the three-meter with his mark of 381.15. Helvie finished the Dallas Morning News Classic as the highest scoring diver.

During last year's season, Jernej Godec set his Cal career-time of 19.58, this season he broke that time in the prelims of the 50 free at the Husky Invitational, and has since won the event twice. In the prelims, at the Husky Invitational, the junior swam his career-best 19.52, winning his heat. He followed up his performance with a second-place finish after being clocked at 19.85 in the finals.. He continued his impressive strength in the race, with a time of 23.62 against Arizona and Michigan in the 50-long course free. Against Arizona State and Michigan, Godec finished second with his time of 20.49. Then at the Dallas Morning News Invitational, Godec won the race with his time of 19.95.

Sophomore diver Sam Helvie not only won both the one-meter (358.25) and posted his career-best of 381.15 on the three-meter, but he left the invitational as the highest scoring diver of the two-day event. Prior to the Dallas Morning News Invitational, Helvie had recorded his season-best marks at the Georgia Invitational, on the three-meter with his final mark of 319.60. To open the Pac-10 season, Helvie swept both the one and three-meter dives against Arizona. Helvie posted a 358.10 in the one-meter and a 375.00 in the three-meter. The following day against Arizona State, Helvie finished second in both events (335.37 on the one-meter and 355.28 on the three-meter.

Junior Dominik Meichtry picked up his fourth individual title in the 500 free at the Dallas Morning News Invitational. Meichtry won the event with his time of 4:19.26. Against Arizona State he won the 500 free with his time of 4:26.34. At the Husky Invitational, in early December, he swam a season-best in the 500 free of 4:18.72. His first victory in the 500 free was against Cal State Bakersfield after being clocked at 4:32.43. Meichtry has also won three 200 free events (Husky Invitational, Arizona, Arizona State).

In his final season in Berkeley, senior Patrick O'Neil has made a statement in the collegiate swimming world. The Roseburg, Ore., native has won one 100 fly title, three 200 fly titles and one 200 IM title this season. His season-best times came at the Husky Invitational. In the 100 fly O'Neil was clocked at 47.59 (he won the event). In the 200 fly he was timed at a season-best 1:46.40 at the Husky Invitational, winning the event. He also won the 200 fly against Arizona State and Michigan with his time of 1:48.92. His latest victory in the 200 fly was at the Dallas Morning News Invitational, at which he claimed individual honor with his time of 1:46.75. In the 200 IM, his season-best time 1:50.40, came at the Husky Invitational. O'Neil won the 200 IM against Cal State Bakersfield with his time of 1:55.57.

A + Adrian:
A major addition to the Bears, freshman Nathan Adrian has already made a statement in his opening campaign. Adrian has captured titles in the 200 free (twice), 50 free (once) and 100 free (once). His 50-free time of 20.08 from the Texas/Indiana meet is the team's top time in that event. He also holds the team's best times in the 100 free (44.27, 11/3-4). Adrian has also swam the first leg of the Bears' 400-free relay team, which has won the event at the last four consecutive competitions, including the team's best time of 2:54.17 at the Husky Invitational.

Cal returns 10 All-Americans from last season. Those swimmers include junior William Copeland (200-medley relay, 200-free relay, 400-free relay, 100 free), junior Jernej Godec (200-medley relay, 200-free relay, 100 fly, 50 free, 400-medley relay), junior Dominik Meichtry (200 free, 500 free, 800-free relay), senior Daniel Lysaught (500 free, 1650 free), senior Patrick O'Neil (200 fly, 100 fly), sophomore David Russell (400-medley relay), junior Louis Vayo (800-free relay, 200 back), junior Garrett Wagner (400-free relay, 800-free relay, 200 free) and junior Joe Whittington (200-free relay) .

In August, senior Patrick O'Neil was rewarded a spot on the United States' 2007 Pan Am Games swimming team. The games will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 17-22, 2007.

Nort Thornton, who was inducted into the ASCA (American Swimming Coaches Association) Hall of Fame in September of 2002, enters his 33rd season as the director of the California men's swimming team. Thornton led the 2005-06 Golden Bears to a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Championships. A true indication of Thornton's success is the fact that Cal has finished in the Top 10 nationally in 27 of the 32 years he has been at the helm of the Golden Bears program. Thornton, the dean of all Pac-10 swimming coaches, has led the Bears to two national championships - back-to-back titles in 1979 and 1980 - and produced a stellar cast of All-Americans. The veteran coach has an impressive 226-82 career dual-meet record, has been National Coach of the Year twice and has been the Pac-10 Coach of the Year four times, most recently in 1999. Thornton is assisted by co-head coach Mike Bottom. Bottom, now in his 10th season in Berkeley, has established himself as one of the world's top sprint coaches. Under his tutelage, former Bear Duje Draganja became one of the top sprinters in the world. The Croatian took silver in the 50 freestyle at the 2004 Athens Olympics and won five titles at the 2005 NCAA Championships. Bottom has also worked with former Cal All-American Milorad Cavic, who swam on three 2005 championship relays (200 free, 400 free and 200 medley). Cavic also finished second, and Draganja was third, in the 100 fly at the 2004 NCAA Championships. Former Cal sprinter Rolandas Gimbutis was also a part of the winning 2005 relays and, individually, placed fifth in both the 50 and 100 frees at last season's NCAA Championships. This season, Tom Davidson, joins the aquatics program as the diving coach. Prior to Cal he was the diving coach at Illinois State. While at Illinois State Davidson guided Emily Hirt to her first ever NCAA Zone diving championship. Hirt placed in the top 40 regionally with a score of 204.05 on the three-meter board, but did not advance to the final round.

The Cal divers will return to the pool pm Feb. 8-10 in the Pac-10 Diving Championship in Seattle, Wash., and the entire team will compete against Stanford on Feb. 10 at 1p.m., at Spieker Aquatics Center.

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